“My mama always used to tell me: ‘If you can’t find somethin’ to live for, you best find somethin’ to die for.” ~ Pac
Let’s get straight to the point. The rap game has changed dramatically for the past decade and today we question it’s authenticity in a ever changing world. I can boldly declare that “I am Hip-Hop” in it’s pure essence. I’ve witnessed the humble beginnings of the culture that began to give rise to one of the greatest art forms to ever have graced the planet. The reason why secret societies existed was because the esoteric knew that the masses would not understand the significance of it’s symbols, rituals, and the need to preserve information that is vital for its existence.
In the beginning was the word and the WORD was GOD. And today we have an embolism of rappers and aspiring rappers declaring that they are the next big thing. There isn’t a day that go by that I don’t get accosted at the local liquor stores and flea market parking lot with cats begging me to buy their CD. So for all of those brothers that could of been in the streets selling dope, gang banging, robbing, and killing; I salute you and commend you for your efforts to get an honest grind however what is your business plan long term in the business? (movie deals, product endorsements, etc.)
Shit lets face it the days of extravagance and splendor are gone. Even P-Diddy galas aren’t all the fuss like they used to. You would of though by now that these niggas would of studied the game by now right? Naw, I don’t think so! Today rappers are only worth the amount of their chain and end up filing for bankruptcy or dead. There are a plethora of deceased rappers that embodied talent and unfortunately neglected the principles needed to navigate Hip-Hop’s pitfalls. So fellas here is a few tips on deciding if this is what you really want to do.
TIP 1. What the fuck are you in it for?
Ask yourself that question dude and you really need to be honest with yourself. Are you looking to be the biggest rapper in your apartment complex? Well you need to sit down and take a look at the man in the mirror and look at all of the wack competition fighting for that same slot.
Tip 2. Who Really Got My Back?
Where the fuck is your fan base? If your fans only exist between you and your boys and maybe Aunt Ludell and Uncle Pete then you need to guess again on this one pal. Record companies look for strong fan bases like rap groups like Little Brother and Tech9ine.
Tip 3. Who Does Your Marketing?
The days of street teams are long gone. During its prominence in the 90’s companies like Loud Records, (Wu-Tang, Big Pun) Hieroglyphics Emporium(Souls of Mischief ,Del), and Duck Down Records(Heltah-Skeltah,Black Moon) flooded the streets with their original brand to distinguish their product. If you don’t have a nice promo package then you are to blame for your own stupidity. Get your shit together and stop being so fucking lazy and put down the blunt and do some real work and create your brand. Record companies aren’t paying for the big budgets any longer especially due to the rise of the three biggest social networking sites(Twitter, Facebook, MySpace) that is cost effective and reduces your overhead.
Tip 4. Why shine, when you can’t grind?
I don’t understand how these rap cats manage to even muster the audacity to get in the game with their blinders on. Every time you look around you have a legion of fans disappointed that their record company was at fault due to lack of album sales. How is it that you rappers brag and boast about how much dope they sold and need help selling a beat? If you aren’t taking the time to get your grill out there than why should anyone else? Weezy proved that you have to possess a tenacious work ethic to become the best.
Tip 5. Sometimes It’s Best To Shut The Fuck Up!
I know most men have this ego thing to contend with and at one point you have to be willing to ask yourself are you willing to put your word on the line? I wonder how shit would of been if Malcolm X didn’t speak about the Assassination of JFK or if Pac never said that BIG and Puff set him up. Choose your words carefully in a world enamored with violence. Keep internet banging and street beefs to a minimum. Unfortunately Hip-Hop has some of the most violent and enigmatic endings to some of its brightest stars and the recent list continues. (Guru,Apache,Baatin,Roc Raida, etc.)
Tip 6. Stash Cash For Class
You fuckin dummy! You are always crying the blues when it comes to fucked up contracts and staggering bills. Nigga listen, the reason why the wealthy continue to stay wealthy is because they are adept at managing their finances to increase their wealth and not diminish it. Cars hold very little value these days unless you have deep pockets, so instead of blowin 300k on a Bentley, take your ass back to school or at least set some money aside towards your kids education instead of spending it to keep your lawyers rich and prevent record companies droppin your dumb ass.
Tip 7. Leave The Street Shit Alone!
You need to make a decision on repping the streets or repping the vocal booth. There are too many rappers to mention that couldn’t escape the lure of their former hoods or stomping grounds. If you aren’t taking care of the community then the hood will let you know immediately. Today authentic street cats are checkin alot of hood passes at the door and someone else is determining whether you live or die. So live to see another day and move to a less accessible environment for a peace of mind. Just in case you decide to ignore my advice, please prepare a will so at least your set can bury you properly okay? Jealousy in this field requires critical thinking so you better watch your back or the “Alphabet Boys” and rival crews will.
Tip 8. Avoid Sex Scandals.
Its obvious you rappers are disgusting. Quit trying to prove your masculinity or homosexuality with fans and groupies. There’s nothing worse than hearing about pics of your favorite rapper” porkin” some tranny in Vegas or attending DL parties to quench your homosexual tendencies,unless this is the type of lifestyle that you’re into. There are alot of DL rappers today and you can better believe that they are secretly ” sizing up” the competition no pun intended. Keep a journal of all of the people you sleep with because the monster is out big time these days especially with rappers,athletes and actors fucking from the same whore troth yuck! Also you need to stay out of questionable pussy so you don’t wind up like Nas forking over 51k a month in child support.
Tip 9. Study The Game.
What to become the best at it? Then put on your thinking cap because the shit gets deep. There is so much to learn especially in a business where there isn’t any distribution companies owned and operated by a rapper past or present. Quit complaining and do your research! Ray Charles might have been blind but he wasn’t a fool when it came to managing his royalties and publishing. What excuse do you have for allowing white guys to profit offf of your craft? The last time I checked you were supposed to be in charge of your career.
Tip 10. Do Something Else.
Yup last but not least dude! Do something else rather than rhyme for a living. The wages is shitty, there’s no health coverage plan, 401-k, and no retirement. Heavyweights such as Drake, Weezy, Eminem, and TI spent years developing their craft and these days you have to have more than just a hot 16 kid! You don’t have the time to think about blowing up and getting a deal from Fight Club or Freestyle Friday’s on 106 and Park. Having the comfort in knowing that you are financially secure even if you never pick up a microphone again, word to Will Smith. Be as diverse as you want to be. If you want to be of some use to the hood then find ways to start programs to fund computers, field trips, and find mentors in your own hood to diversify your options.
So there you have it, my ten tips. I hope I could be of some use during this dramatic decline in popularity and sales regarding hip-hop. It serves as a contrast to days of prosperity in the culture. Rapping isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be and the late Ol’ Dirty Bastard was quoted as saying in his song “rawhide”, “who the fuck wanna be an emcee if you can’t get paid to be a fuckin emcee?” The choice is obviously yours,so good luck and good riddance.